Writers' festival turns over a new leaf

© Prikhodko

FICTION, non-fiction, film, theatre, verse, music, laughter and serious in-depth discussions - the 2009 Byron Bay Writers Festival will have it all and much, much more.

To be held at Belongil Fields for the first time, the 13th annual festival, from August 7-9, is regarded as one of Australia's most popular literary events.

This year's program is packed with dozens of marquee sessions, workshops, literary lunches and dinners, cabarets, special events and a school and children's program.

Launched last Thursday night at the Byron Bay Community Centre, festival director Jeni Caffin said she hoped people would find as much joy in the program as she had putting it together.

“I wondered whether I still had enough brain cells to keep the new ideas flowing for yet another festival, and yes, luckily I did,” she said.

“This festival, like all the previous ones, has an excellent mix of genres from writers young and old.”

Former editor of The Northern Star, Russell Eldridge, local author Robert Drewe, and political commentator Mungo MacCallum spoke about the highs and lows of previous festivals.

Last year's wet weather, which saw the cancellation of the first day of the festival for the first time in its history, was high on the list of lows, while Mungo said he had never had a bad experience at a festival.

Ms Caffin said the program was an indicator of just how wonderful the state of Australian literature was.

Read our Byron Bay Writers' Festival guide

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